Dear Friends and Supporters,
What a year to be thankful for! Though it may have had some sad and challenging times, it has also brought us great joy and fulfillment. People passing in and out have contributed skills, manpower and encouragement. Families have grown and been brought together. It has been a year to grow from, learn from and to reflect upon.
We remember the three precious children we lost to illness this year and cherish the time they were with us. We are thankful that they found belonging through loving arms and hearts at Grace and rest in knowing they are now safe in their Father’s arms.
Grace senior staff had a huge part to play in advocating for a foreign pedophile to be put behind bars and then transported from the country.
This year, two teams and multiple solo volunteers passed through Grace. Some notable ones include Evan, Emma and Kate who spent three weeks in June cleaning, “pimping” and extending our playground, training of staff, painting murals, soap making, maintenance, activities with children and more.
The Jordan family, on behalf of Moore Park Baptist Church, alongside me and my nine year old daughter, ventured to Ethiopia in September. The Jordan family gave medical assistance and health training, completed an extensive land survey, painted, cleaned, spent time doing arts, crafts and music with the Day Care kids, Kindergarten, Grace Children’s Home, and children in prison and more.
The Immanuel Baptist Church in Duncan, Oklahoma sent a team of 15, lead by Pastor Brian Holland, in October who renovated the kitchen and chapel, repaired the prison playground that they had built on a previous visit and brought the children from prison and Grace Children’s Home on a field trip.
Along with these teams, Dr Liz Lester and Damian Larcombe visited and brought their skills and talents to Grace. To finish our visits off for the year we welcomed a representative from a Global Development for a day.
We are thankful for two female cows that were recently donated by a supporter of the Pink Girls organisation, which helps empower girls and young women in their education. We are also grateful for our partnership with Pink Girls and support their goal to educate girls in Ethiopia.
In June Melishew Ateka, our Staff and Child Care Co-ordinator, flew to Australia for two months and completed the National Training: Understanding and Responding to Children At Risk training through Janette Papell who we are honoured to be partnering with though the Children At Risk Global Network. This training will give Grace more qualified and equipped staff to help continue to bring best care practices to Grace and beyond, and is a huge blessing to those we are helping.
The current school year, starting in September, has seen the launch of the Grace Kindergarten pilot program. We have qualified teachers and an experienced supervisor giving high quality education to the children.
The literacy program has recommenced! Thanks to the efforts of our local kindergarten director, Abebe, who has given his Sundays to this cause. This program strives to educated illiterate mothers in basic reading, writing and math. We now have 20 mothers attending each week and it continues to grow!
Marcie Erikson, our Co-Founder, Co-Director and dear friend, recently gave birth to her eighth child, Alemnesh. Her family is happy and growing as the family of Grace Centre itself.
The children of Grace are also striving, and these are just some of the statistics for 2015:
- 23 families graduated.
- 10 children were adopted to local Ethiopian forever families.
- 17 children reunited with their birth families.
- 42 children are in Daycare and forty-five are in After School Care.
- 180 have sponsorships.
- 14 children are in foster care through Grace.
- Grace Children’s Home currently holds 27 children, 14 who came through new this year.
- 11 more children in prison are going to school
- 20+ mothers receiving literacy training.
- 60 staff members received childcare refreshment training.
Please remember that these children and families are not just the specifics I spouted. Each of them has a name, a face, hopes and dreams and a future. These children are not simply numbers.
The impact your support has had can not be measured in numbers; it is not until you see for yourself the impact sponsorship can make on one child’s life that you truly realise that giving little yet deliberately can bring immeasurable change beyond anything you may imagine. How do you measure the impact of your support that brings renewed hope, true acceptance, forgiveness and redemption, a second chance? You can’t truly measure those things. However, these numbers are the best way to tell you of what has transpired in 2015. They show that the impact is there, is worth what you give. None of this would be possible without you and your continued support. THANK YOU for all that you have done in helping Grace Centre to get to where it is today.
We look forward to continuing this journey with you in 2016. If you are looking at making a difference this year but don’t know where to start, sponsorship through Grace Centre is an effective and tangible way to change the future of a child as well as their family.
Love Dee xxx